Tag Archives: domestic

Are Trump’s hats made in the USA? Putting a cap to the test

Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” hats tout they are “Made in USA.” Not necessarily always the case, an Associated Press review found.

The iconic, baseball-style hats are indeed stitched together at a small factory in the Los Angeles area. But at least one of the hats in a small sample tested by AP and an outside expert did not contain the specific type of American-made fabric the hats’ manufacturer insists his factory always uses to make each one.

The true origin of the fabric in that hat remains a mystery – whether U.S.- or foreign-made and by whom – and a striking example of how difficult and murky it can be to verify something is actually “Made in USA.” The Republican presidential candidate has made it a cornerstone of his campaign that U.S. companies and individuals should aim for that standard to bring back American jobs, even if it means paying more.

Informed of the AP’s findings, Trump said any misrepresentation would be unacceptable. “I pay a good price for that hat. If it’s not made in the USA, we’ll bring a lawsuit.”

The AP review included a microscopic analysis of five hats bought from Trump’s campaign website, which showed the fabric in one was of a different type than that made by the supplier the manufacturer told the AP provides all his hat fabric.

In addition to the fabric analysis, two of the manufacturer’s employees, including a top sales agent, said the hats’ fabric, bills and stiffeners were imported.

The factory’s owner, Brian Kennedy of Cali-Fame of Los Angeles Inc., said the two employees were wrong, but he refused to explain the fabric discrepancy. Federal law requires that items labeled “Made in USA” be made from materials “all or virtually all” from the United States.

“I’m not using imported materials,” Kennedy told the AP. “We’re playing by the rules.”

On a broad level, the tale of Trump’s hats shows the challenge of revitalizing U.S. manufacturing, which has been ravaged by cheap competition from overseas. Trump has accused Asian countries of unfairly manipulating their currencies to boost exports.

Labor costs in Asia are so low that hats or other clothing can cost less than half the price of products made in the United States. Asian fabric prices are also lower, though less dramatically. While Trump has tried to get Made in USA hats for his campaign, knockoffs of those hats, clearly made in China, do a brisk business for other vendors. And Trump’s private companies and the clothing line run by his daughter, Ivanka, routinely sell clothes and other products made in China and other Asian countries.

Trump has warned Ford Motor Co. that he would place a 35 percent tax on cars sent to the U.S. from a planned plant in Mexico, and he has pledged to “get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country.”

“All it takes is a commitment to winning and making ‘Made in America’ a badge of honor like it used to be,” Trump wrote last year.

But the Trump campaign’s experience shows how difficult it can be to be utterly certain of a product’s provenance. Trump told the AP that his staff had visited Cali-Fame’s factory and reviewed paperwork guaranteeing the hats qualified for Made in the USA labeling. “It was very important to us that these hats be made in the USA,” he said.

The fabric tells a complicated tale.

Kennedy, the factory owner, provided the AP with a copy of a certificate dated March 24, 2016. It shows the purchase of 1,488 yards of U.S.-origin, red polyester-cotton blended fabric, called Saxtwill, from Carr Textile Corp. of Fenton, Missouri. Kennedy later provided copies of three other certificates from Carr Textile, dated September 2015, for components of black and white hats of U.S. origin.

Kennedy declined to comment further after the AP told him that a microscopic analysis of the fabric in a red cap the AP purchased directly from Trump’s campaign website did not match the red Saxtwill material that the AP obtained directly from Carr Textile. He said providing any further detail would reveal proprietary information.

To do the microscopic analysis, the AP obtained samples directly from Carr of the same red polyester-cotton blended fabric that Kennedy said was in the hats: one type imported and one U.S.-made. The AP asked Deborah Young, a professor of textiles and clothing at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, to compare two Trump hats that the AP had purchased from the campaign website with the fabric samples. The AP did not identify the fabric samples to prevent bias.

Her conclusion: The material in one Trump hat was inconsistent with either Carr sample. The pattern of the weave was noticeably different, later confirmed by the AP using a school-grade microscope: All Carr-made Saxtwill fabric is a 2/1 weave; the other Trump hat was a 3/1 pattern weave.

“I am completely confident of this outcome,” Young said. “There’s no way this hat was made out of either (Carr) sample.”

The analysis was not able to determine where the fabric in that hat actually came from.

Young said the other “Make America Great Again” hat that the AP had also purchased from Trump’s campaign could have come from either the U.S.-made Carr fabric, from Carr’s cheaper imported fabric, or from an entirely different source.

After receiving Young’s opinion, the AP bought an additional three hats from the Trump campaign for review. Those were also compatible with either Carr’s Saxtwill or the cheaper fabric that Carr imports.

In addition to the fabric analysis, two of Cali-Fame’s employees, Andy Meade and Angela Olague, told the AP and a product distributor, separately, that the hats were made from imported fabric and other components.

The AP asked Kevin O’Brien, the president of Ethix Ventures Inc. of Boston, a distributor specializing in U.S.-produced, sweatshop-free merchandise, to call Meade, Cali-Fame’s top sales agent, on the AP’s behalf to ask about the company’ hat prices and the origin of the hats’ materials. The AP asked O’Brien to call so that the company’s employees would respond as they would to a regular industry customer.

“It’s domestic made of imported,” Meade said.

An AP reporter separately called Olague in the company’s sales department to ask which materials were imported, disclosing that he worked for The Associated Press when asked.

The hats “are made in the USA, but all the materials are not,” Olague told the AP of the company’s Made in America product line. Pressed further, she said the factory could hypothetically produce hats from American-made fabric – but only if the customer supplied domestic fabric with the same specifications of the material Cali-Fame used.

Meade and Olague declined subsequently to speak to the AP. Kennedy, the factory owner, said the two employees had their facts wrong.

Closely policing all U.S.-made claims would take considerable bureaucracy and expense.

The Federal Trade Commission considers a product made in the U.S. only when “all or virtually all” the product is U.S.-made. It defines that as cases where “all significant parts and processing that go into the product are of U.S. origin.”

The FTC generally requires Made-in-USA labeled products to be assembled or “substantially transformed” in the U.S. and to contain “negligible” foreign content.

Under the FTC rules, if a hat were made from imported fabrics, the maker could comply with the law by using a different, more qualified label, such as “Made of U.S. and imported fabric” or “Made in U.S. of imported fabric.”

The FTC can punish violators in an administrative process that prohibits unfair or deceptive practices. The agency can and sometimes does investigate such cases when it receives a formal complaint.

Through a spokeswoman, the FTC declined to comment on Trump’s hats specifically, referring the AP to its guidelines requiring all significant components to be domestically made.

State law also regulates Made in USA claims. Under California law, 95 percent of a “Made in the USA” product’s value must come from U.S. sources unless key components are unavailable domestically. Foreign fabric is often in greater supply, but domestic fabric is available.

Ironically, even as the Trump campaign strives to provide Made in USA hats, unofficial knock-offs of Trump hats, made in China and not endorsed by Trump’s campaign, are widely available.

Trump’s campaign sells its hats for $25 to $30 each on its website. It was unclear how many it has sold, but the campaign has paid Cali-Fame nearly $1.5 million for hats through the end of last month. The knockoffs, sometimes worn by Trump supporters at his rallies, can be had for as little as $6 on Amazon.com.

Trump acknowledged there appeared to be a demand for the cheaper, foreign hats. He said he was unsure whether supporters buying those hats ever checked the tags. “I don’t know if they know,” he said.

Trump said his organization has been writing letters trying to force the knockoff makers to stop.

“Maybe we’ll end up suing companies,” he said. “Who knows where they are?”

LGBT rights groups respond to mass shooting, killer identified

Equality Florida, a statewide LGBT civil rights group, issued a statement following the mass shooting early June 12 at the Pulse, a gay dance club in Orlando.

The shooting occurred just days after the conclusion of the area’s Gay Days LGBT Pride celebration. Authorities identified the killer as 29-year-old Omar Mateen of Fort Pierce, Florida.

Equality Florida, in its statement, said, “We are reeling from the tragic news that a gunman opened fire on the 2am capacity crowd at Pulse….

“We are heartbroken and angry that senseless violence has once again destroyed lives in our state and in our country.

“Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety. June commemorates our community standing up to anti-LGBTQ violence at the Stonewall Inn, the nightclub that has become the first LGBTQ site recognized as a national monument.

“We have received a steady stream of emails and messages from those seeking to help or to make sense of the senseless. We make no assumptions on motive. We will await the details in tears of sadness and anger. We stand in solidarity and keep our thoughts on all whose lives have been lost or altered forever in this tragedy.”

Also early June 12, Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, issued this statement, “We are deeply shocked by this appalling act of violence against the LGBTQ community and our friends. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones and with the injured. While the motive behind this crime remains unclear, our resolve to live openly and proudly remains undiminished. Now is a time for the whole nation to stand together against violence.”

At about 10:30 a.m. on June 12, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, issued a statement on the mass shooting and on hate crimes in America.

HRC president Chad Griffin said, “We are grieving for the victims and our hearts are broken for their friends, families, and for the entire community. This tragedy has occurred as our community celebrates pride, and now more than ever we must come together as a nation to affirm that love conquers hate.”

He continued, “We are grateful that President Obama has directed the FBI and other federal agencies to support the investigation of this attack and the LGBTQ community during this time.”

HRC said while the shooting in Florida had not yet been labeled a hate crime, more than 20 percent of hate crimes reported nationally in 2014 targeted people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the most recent FBI statistics available.

Hate crimes based on sexual orientation currently account for 22 percent of all hate crimes in Florida, according to a report by Equality Florida, trailing only race as the most common motivation.

As a percentage of the state population, LGBTQ Floridians are at the highest risk of being targeted with a hate crime. Florida law provides increased penalties for hate crimes based on sexual orientation.

A response from GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis: “Our hearts are broken for the victims and families of the horrific tragedy in Orlando. This unimaginable atrocity has not only robbed countless people of their loved ones, it has also stolen a sense of safety within the LGBTQ community. As we mourn the victims of this unspeakable attack, we are also reminded that the work to end hate in all its forms must continue.”

From Lambda Legal acting executive director Fran Goldstein: “Lambda Legal joins the people around the country in expressing our sorrow and outrage at the terrible and deadly attack on patrons at a gay bar in Orlando, Florida. Our first thoughts, as they must be, are with the loved ones of those who were killed and with those who were injured or who witnessed this horrific assault. We offer our deepest sympathies and our hopes that those who were wounded will recover.

“Though little is known at this hour about the attacker, the police have characterized this as an act of domestic terrorism and news reports indicate that it was a hate crime. It occurred during LGBT Pride Month, only days after 150,000 people participated in a pride celebration in Orlando.

“As an organization that fights every day for justice for LGBT people and people living with HIV, we also raise our voice this morning to say, ‘No more hatred and violence against our community!’ We will continue to stand up for the dignity and equality of every member of the communities we represent – to demand fair and effective responses from police and the criminal justice systems; to fight for laws that prohibit discrimination, not encourage or require it; and to expect public officials and leaders across the country to unite us in justice.”

Please check back for updates to this story.

Americans prefer cheap to ‘US-made’

The vast majority of Americans say they prefer lower prices instead of paying a premium for items labeled “U.S.-made,’ even if it means those cheaper items are made abroad, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

While presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are vowing to bring back millions of American jobs lost to China and other foreign competitors, public sentiment reflects core challenges confronting the U.S. economy. Incomes have barely improved, forcing many households to look for the most convenient bargains instead of goods made in America. Employers now seek workers with college degrees, leaving those with only a high school degree who once would have held assembly lines jobs in the lurch. And some Americans who work at companies with clients worldwide see themselves as part of a global market.

Nearly three in four say they would like to buy U.S.-made goods,  but those items are often too costly or difficult to find, according to the survey released April 14. A mere 9 percent say they only buy American.

Asked about a real world example of choosing between $50 pants made in another country or an $85 pair that are U.S.-made — one retailer sells two such pairs made with the same fabric and design — 67 percent say they’d buy the cheaper pair. Only 30 percent would pony up for the more expensive U.S.-made one. People in higher earning households earning more than $100,000 a year are no less likely than lower-income Americans to say they’d go for the lower price.

“Low prices are a positive for U.S. consumers — it stretches budgets and allows people to save for their retirements, if they’re wise, with dollars that would otherwise be spent on day-to-day living,” said Sonya Grob, 57, a middle school secretary from Norman, Oklahoma who described herself as a “liberal Democrat.”

But Trump and Sanders have galvanized many voters by attacking recent trade deals.

From their perspective, layoffs and shuttered factories have erased the benefits to the economy from reduced consumer prices.

“We’re getting ripped off on trade by everyone,” said Trump, the Republican front-runner, at a speech in Albany, New York. “Jobs are going down the drain, folks.”

The real estate mogul and reality television star has threatened to shred the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada. He has also threatened to slap sharp tariffs on China in hopes of erasing the overall $540 billion trade deficit.

Economists doubt that Trump could deliver on his promises to create the first trade surplus since 1975. Many see the backlash against trade as frustration with a broader economy coping with sluggish income gains.

“The reaction to trade is less about trade and more about the decline in people’s ability to achieve the American Dream,” said Caroline Freund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “It’s a lot easier to blame the foreigner than other forces that are affecting stagnant wage growth like technology.”

But Trump’s message appeals to Merry Post, 58, of Paris, Texas where the empty factories are daily reminders of what was lost. Sixty-eight percent of people with a favorable opinion of Trump said that free trade agreements decreased the number of jobs available to Americans.

“In our area down here in Texas, there used to be sewing factories and a lot of cotton gins,” Post said. “I’ve watched them all shut down as things went to China, Mexico and the Philippines. All my friends had to take early retirements or walk away.”

Sanders, the Vermont senator battling for the Democratic nomination, has pledged to end the exodus of jobs overseas.

“I will stop it by renegotiating all of the trade agreements that we have,” Sanders told the New York Daily News editorial board earlier this month, saying that the wages paid to foreign workers and environmental standards would be part of any deal he would strike.

Still, voters are divided as to whether free trade agreements hurt job creation and incomes.

Americans are slightly more likely to say free trade agreements are positive for the economy overall than negative, 33 percent to 27 percent. But 37 percent say the deals make no difference. Republicans (35 percent) are more likely than Democrats (22 percent) to say free trade agreements are bad for the economy.

On jobs, 46 percent say the agreements decrease jobs for American workers, while 11 percent say they improve employment opportunities and 40 percent that they make no difference. Pessimism was especially pronounced among the 18 percent of respondents with a family member or friend whose job was offshored. Sixty-four percent of this group said free trade had decreased the availability of jobs.

The AP-GfK Poll of 1,076 adults was conducted online March 31–April 4, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using telephone or mail survey methods and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.

 

Not so secret service: LGBT group names British spy agency top employer

A UK equality organization has named Britain’s domestic spy agency its employer of the year.

Stonewall gave MI5 top marks this week among 400 employers.

The results are based in part on a confidential survey of 60,000 staff members, who are asked about workplace culture, diversity and inclusion.

The annual survey underscores the strides made by the spy agency, which failed in the past to welcome gay candidates. Critics had argued that disclosing sexual orientation would leave spies more vulnerable to blackmail.

But after the 2005 London transit attacks that killed 52 commuters, Britain’s spy agencies — both MI5 and MI6 — have led aggressive recruiting drives for candidates from diverse ethnic and sexual backgrounds.

National database of pets in shelters is online: Shelter Animals Count

Millions of dogs and cats end up in animal shelters or rescues every year, but there are no comprehensive statistics on how many, how they got there, if they were adopted, if a rescue saved them or if their time ran out and they were euthanized. But a new website is aiming to remedy the lack of data.

Animal welfare workers talked about creating a database for years. Now, four years after the work began, “Shelter Animals Count: The National Database Project” is online.

When enough information is input, “we should have a sense of how dogs and cats move in and out of these rescues and shelters that are dedicated to their care,” said Jodi Lytle Buckman, board chair for Shelter Animals Count. Data organization is modeled on the U.S. Census, so comparisons will be possible at the county level, she said.

Until now, individual agencies have used estimates when statistics were needed. As a result, figures often varied from group to group and state to state. Even the precise number of shelters and rescues is not known.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, often cited by The Associated Press, estimates there are 13,600 shelters across the country taking in 7.6 million companion animals a year. Of those, 2.7 million are euthanized, 2.7 million are adopted and 649,000 are returned to their owners (with the other 1.5 million including animals besides cats and dogs, feral animals and other categories).

For every dog or cat relinquished to a shelter by an owner, two strays were brought in, according to ASPCA estimates.

Rescues are usually dedicated to saving one breed and can be operated out of a home, so they are even harder to count than shelters, which are most often run by counties or cities.

The new database at www.shelteranimalscount.org is incorporated as an independent non-profit. Two employees will be hired, one to look at the data and one to recruit shelters and rescues to sign up.

“This database is precisely what the animal welfare world needs to guide good decision-making and help enable a greater understanding of the issues facing rescues and shelters in this country,” Buckman said.

The database is funded entirely through grants from board members. Board members include: Animal Assistance Foundation; Animal Humane Society in Minnesota; the ASPCA; Association of Shelter Veterinarians; Best Friends Animal Society; Humane Society of the Pike’s Peak Region; The Humane Society of the United States; Maddie’s Fund; National Animal Care & Control Association; National Council on Pet Population; Petco Foundation; PetSmart Charities; Society of Animal Welfare Administrators; University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine; University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine; and Wisconsin Humane Society. 

‘Season of Light’ goes dark

I usually write something frothy around the holidays, but the terrible events in Beirut and Paris and now in a women’s clinic in Colorado have turned the so-called “season of light” into something dark and foreboding.

Contributing to the toxic atmosphere have been comments from politicians that incite violence, scapegoat refugees and spread prejudice and xenophobia. That includes Carly Fiorina’s deliberate, vicious lies about Planned Parenthood; Ben Carson’s reference to Syrian refugees as “dogs” from whom we have to remove the “rabid” element; and Donald Trump’s scurrilous description of Mexicans as criminals and rapists.

We are right to be concerned about the growing threat from ISIS, but we should be equally concerned about the Taliban-like rantings of our own political leaders. Attacking our government as incapable of screening refugees (when in fact multiple agencies spend up to two years vetting individuals) and characterizing desperate victims fleeing ISIS terror as would-be terrorists is utterly counterproductive.

We have demonized refugees and immigrants during many crises in the past and have always come to regret our behavior. 

In the 1930s and 1940s we shut the door to Jews fleeing Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe. This was due to a prevailing anti-Semitism among the public (registered in many polls) and to the blatant anti-Semitic views of administrators in our State Department and Visa Division. Memos to President Franklin Roosevelt also cited fear of “penetration of German agents” as rationale for keeping Jews out.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt signed an executive order to intern Japanese-Americans, most of them U.S. citizens. More than 120,000 people were deprived of due process, shorn of their goods and property and imprisoned in isolated camps patrolled by armed guards. The census bureau provided the demographic data used to locate and lock up these innocent people.

While their families suffered in camps, thousands of Japanese-Americans won distinction fighting against the Nazis in the 442nd Infantry Regiment. Of the 14,000 men who served, 9,486 received Purple Hearts, 560 won Silver Stars for valor and 21 won our highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

Today, many Mexicans and other Latinos new to the United States join the Armed Forces as a means to earn citizenship. The people demeaned by Donald Trump are actually playing an outsize role in the defense of our country.

As for Planned Parenthood, in the past 38 years, 10 doctors, clinic personnel or patients have been assassinated. Other acts of violence include: 26 attempted murders; 42 bombings; 182 arson attacks; 199 assaults; 1,507 incidents of vandalism; 80 acid attacks; and 983 death threats or stalking incidents. 

Women who go to Planned Parenthood clinics for health services and birth control are routinely harassed by screaming crowds of anti-abortion zealots. In this context it is a travesty that the media fails to identify the latest attack as an act of domestic terrorism. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did the right thing by ordering state police to protect Planned Parenthood clinics in that state. 

While we deplore the misogynist cruelty of ISIS and the Taliban abroad, we must fight the growing terrorism against women here at home.

For end-of-year charitable donations, I recommend giving to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin at www.ppwi.org and the United Nations Refugee agency at www.unhcr.org. Your donations will support critical services and make an important political statement in these times of domestic and international terrorism.

Show horse found slaughtered in Florida

Just days ago, the nearly 1,300-pound, powerful jumping horse with a shiny chestnut coat named Phedras de Blondel arrived at his new home in the United States, a farm owned by a champion rider in Florida.

On Oct. 25, his owner discovered a horrific scene near his stall: the 12-year-old gelding had been slaughtered and butchered, most likely for his meat. Only his head and neck were left intact. Now, detectives are trying to find the perpetrators.

“What they did to this horse had nothing to do with his value,” Debbie Stephens, who owns the 27-acre ranch in Palmetto, said earlier this week. She would not disclose the price she paid for the horse, but show horses can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. “It’s one of the cruelest things that could happen to any horse. This just turned my life around.”

Stephens is a veteran show jumper and holds the women’s high jump record of 7 feet, 8 inches. Her husband was a co-designer of the show jumping courses for the 2008 Olympic Games in China.

The couple and others have raised more than $18,000 toward a reward they hope will lead to an arrest. Manatee County Sheriff’s deputies say that’s what it will take to crack the case.

Horse meat is illegal in Florida, but a black market for it exists, said Nick Atwood, a spokesman for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. During the 2010 Florida Legislative Session, he said, a bill passed that strengthened the state’s restrictions on the sale of horse meat for human consumption. It is now illegal in Florida to sell, purchase, distribute, transport or possess horse meat unless “it is clearly stamped, marked, or described as horse meat for human consumption.”

There are currently no U.S. slaughterhouses that process horse meat, however, making it difficult to obtain legally.

While eating horse meat is generally taboo in the U.S., it is common in dishes in some Caribbean and European countries. Atwood said there are some people living in the U.S. willing to pay top dollar.

It’s not the first time horses have been targeted for meat in Florida. In July, animal rescue officials said a competitive show horse named “Smart Amanda Whiz” was slaughtered for its meat in Hialeah. And earlier this month, officials in Palm Beach County raided three slaughterhouses accused of illegally selling horse meat.

“The horses are slaughtered horribly,” Atwood said. “There’s no illusion of humane slaughter.”

That’s the case with Phedras, said Stephens, who said the horse was friendly and probably went with his killers willingly. She said he was likely still alive when they began to butcher him.

She said probably more than one person was involved in the slaughter because the horse was so big.

The horse was probably targeted because of his size, officials said.

“It could be the suspects scoped out this ranch,” said Dave Bristow, a spokesman from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. The ranch is not far from the interstate.

Stephens said she’s reinforcing her ranch to protect the other 50 horses that live on the property — and she’s planning to raise more money for the reward and speak out about the problem of illegal horse slaughter. Florida is a popular state for show horses, and she wants to protect other animals and owners.

“This can happen to anyone’s horse,” she said.

Toyota driven to eliminate gasoline cars by 2050

Toyota, under ambitious environmental targets, is aiming to sell hardly any regular gasoline vehicles by 2050, only hybrids and fuel cells, to radically reduce emissions.

The automaker promised to involve governments, affiliated companies and other “stakeholders” in its push to reduce average emissions from Toyota cars by 90 percent by about 2050, compared with 2010 levels. 

Electric cars weren’t part of their vision, outlined by top Toyota Motor Corp. officials at a Tokyo museum, striking a contrast with rivals such as Nissan Motor Co., which has banked on that zero-emissions technology.

Toyota’s commitments come at a time when the auto industry has been shaken by a scandal at Germany’s Volkswagen AG, in which it admitted it cheated on diesel emissions tests covering millions of cars.

Toyota projected its annual sales of fuel cell vehicles will reach more than 30,000 by about 2020, which is 10 times its projected figure for 2017.

Fuel cells run on hydrogen and are zero-emissions. Toyota’s Mirai fuel cell went on sale late last year. Toyota has received 1,500 orders for the Mirai in Japan, and it just went on sale in the U.S. and Europe.

Annual sales of hybrid vehicles will reach 1.5 million and by 2020 Toyota would have sold 15 million hybrids, nearly twice what it has sold so far around the world, it said.

Hybrids switch back and forth between a gasoline engine and an electric motor to deliver an efficient ride.

The Toyota Prius, which went on sale in 1997, is the top-selling hybrid, with about 4 million sold globally so far. Toyota is promising to develop a hybrid version in every category, including usually gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles, as well as luxury models.   

“You may think 35 years is a long time,” Senior Managing Officer Kiyotaka Ise told reporters. “But for an automaker to envision all combustion engines as gone is pretty extraordinary.”

Ise acknowledged some gasoline engine cars would remain in less developed markets, but only in small numbers.

He and other Toyota officials insisted on the inevitability of their overall vision, stressing that the problems of global warming and environmental destruction made a move toward a hydrogen-based society a necessity.

Experts agree more has to be done to curtail global warming and pollution, and nations are increasingly tightening emissions standards.

But they are divided on whether all gasoline engines will disappear, or they’ll stay on, thanks to greener internal combustion engines, as well as the arrival of clean diesel technology.

Tatsuo Yoshida, senior analyst at Barclays Securities Japan in Tokyo, said Toyota’s goals weren’t far-fetched.

“The internal combustion engine is developing and metamorphosing into hybrids,” he said. “Toyota has been working on this technology for a long time. When officials speak out like this, it means they are 120 percent confident this is their scenario.”    

As part of its environmental vision, Toyota also promised to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from production lines during manufacturing in 2030 to about a third of 2001 levels.

Toyota said it will develop manufacturing technology that uses hydrogen, and will use wind power at its Tahara plant, both by 2020. It also promised to beef up various recycling measures, including developing ways to build vehicles from recycled ones.

When asked why Toyota remained so cautious on electric vehicles, they said they take too long to recharge, despite battery innovations that have made them smaller, restricting them for short-range travel in cities. 

Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, known as the “father of the Prius,” said the company was taking the environment seriously because it has always tried to contribute to a better society.

“We have the same principles since our founding,” he said, showing on stage a photo of Sakichi Toyoda, the Toyota founder’s father, who invented a textile loom in 1891. “That is Toyota’s DNA.”   

Black Lives Matter coalition: cancerous racism allowed to flourish

Charleston’s Emanuel AME church, which is steeped in the incredible history of resistance to slavery, will now be known as the site of an unspeakable and tragic act.

Our hearts go out to the families of those killed. We also keep in our thoughts a congregation that lost its pastor and a community mourning the loss of its neighbors.

We are reminded today that while our attention has focused on increasing state and police violence against Black people, racist vigilante attacks are a large part of this country’s legacy. We must face the hard truth that our collective work goes much further than the implementation of body cameras and police reform initiatives if we cannot even be safe worshipping at church.

Whether it’s the murder of four schoolgirls at a Birmingham church in 1963, the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police officers or the suicide of Kalief Browder after years of being unjustly imprisoned and tortured as a teenager at Rikers Island jail — our communities continue to suffer the many strains of a cancerous racism allowed to flourish in this country.

While the arrest of this shooter must come as a small comfort to the families of those killed, we know we cannot arrest our way out of this country’s history or its present.

Therefore, as a movement, we must say what our president cannot or will not say. This was an undeniable act of terrorism intended to strike fear into the hearts of Black communities at a time when we have bravely stood together declaring that #BlackLivesMatter everywhere.

We continue to fight for a world that values Black life in the names of all those we have lost, including and especially those who were killed last night on a date we will surely never forget.

The Movement for Black Lives Team, including:

Signed: Ferguson Action, Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100), Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, ColorOfChange.org, Project South, Ohio Students Association, Baltimore United for Change, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Concerned Citizens for Justice

Endorsed: Center for Media Justice, CREDO, Democracy for America, Media Action Grassroots Network, Dignity and Power Now, Media Mobilizing Project, Voices for Racial Justice, Global Action Project, Media Literacy Project, Showing Up for Racial Justice



Beaver Dam says no to kangaroo as service animal

Officials have changed a southeastern Wisconsin city’s rules on service animals after a woman took a baby kangaroo into a McDonald’s restaurant.

The Beaver Dam Daily Citizen reports the city’s Common Council voted 14-0 earlier this week to define a service animal as a dog or miniature horse, but not a kangaroo. Police can cite people who try to use other animals.

Beaver Dam police say the woman wrapped the baby kangaroo in a blanket and tucked it in an infant car seat, then took it inside a McDonald’s in February. The woman has said the kangaroo is a therapy animal to help her cope with emotional distress.

City Attorney Maryann Schacht says the changes comply with the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act.